1. Reinvent the classics
You can still enjoy these indulgences with a few simple tweaks:
Potato salad: Add more bright vegetables and trade regular mayo for fat-free, says registered dietitian Nanci Guest. Or, better yet, skip the creamy dressing and flavour your spuds with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and red onions.
Steak: You know red meat isn’t a superfood, just as we know nothing tastes as good as a juicy steak, so let’s compromise. Go for varieties with the word round on the label or leaner cuts like top sirloin (220 calories and 9 g of fat for a four-ounce serving). While these choices can be tougher, a good marinade will turn any piece of meat into mouth-watering magic.
2. Build a better burger
If you’re watching your waistline, follow these golden rules:
Prep leaner patties: Homemade or store-bought, the typical beef patty averages 300 calories and 20 g of fat. Cut a third of the calories and nearly half the fat by making patties with extra-lean ground beef, or consider ground turkey or chicken.
Flavour without fat: To make sure extra-lean ground beef tastes delicious, season it with fresh herbs, garlic and minced onions.
Dress it smart: Pile up the veggie toppers. Choose ripe tomatoes, grilled vegetables, hot peppers and Spanish onions. Try arugula instead of plain old lettuce, add zing with spicy mustard, and keep it all together.
4. Revamp your signature cocktail
Quick, which has more calories: an eight-ounce margarita or a McDonald’s bacon cheeseburger? If you said the burger, you’re wrong. The cocktail packs 415 calories compared to the burger’s 320. From beer to wine to mojitos, our favourite summer drinks can be major calorie offenders. Even worse: “Our brains don’t register liquid calories ,” says Guest. “It’s important to be conscious of what you drink and aim for moderation.” Drink lighter libations with Guest’s top damage-control tips: Spritz and sip Dilute white wine and vodka coolers with sparkling water or club soda.
Use fresh ingredients: Make frosty drinks with real fruit. “Any time you can, add a healthy kick by tossing in a handful of berries or a squeeze of citrus,” says Guest.
Drink from a tall glass: It takes longer to finish taller drinks, even if they have the same amount of alcohol. Plus as long as you don’t go for sugary pop or juice (or start pouring doubles!), a tall glass keeps calorie and alcohol consumption in check.
Alternate with H20: Sip water in between each alcoholic drink.
5. Make over your plate
Good news! You can dodge diet disasters and still have plenty to eat. No deprivation required.